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I'm comparatively new to both Malifaux and the forum, so please excuse me if this idea has already been discussed recently.

What do experienced Malifaux players think of the idea of "Master Roulette"? Let me explain what I mean. The two players set up terrain, declare factions and get the pool of schemes and strategies as usual, from whatever rule set they are using (e.g. GG18).

The only difference is that the player does not choose which Master will lead their crew: instead, they randomly select them in secret by drawing names out of a hat (or similar). As normal, players do not know which Master the other player has randomly selected until deployment. Once the Master is selected, the players build their crews as normal, considering that Master's synergies and the schemes & strats as usual. So if you draw Jacob Lynch, you can choose Brilliance models as desired to get the best results from that crew. The only random element is which Master is taken.

I see a number of potential advantages and drawbacks from playing games this way, but I imagine experienced players will be able to think of some more. So far, I think:

Advantages

  • Players learn to use all of the Masters they have available, meaning that so-called lesser tier Masters see as much table time as the moderate to higher-rated. This could help creative players find new strengths for crews led by Masters who are lesser-rated when they ordinarily would have chosen more popular Masters instead, meaning that currently lesser-rated Masters may actually become more highly-rated as more strengths are discovered.
  • Conversely, depending on the schemes & strats, Masters with a reputation as being especially powerful may find that their dominance is reduced a little when they are forced to use them in situations where they ordinarily would have chosen a different Master instead.
  • The skill gap between new and experienced players is potentially reduced, depending on which Master the experienced player draws, and how familiar she/he is with their use.
  • Players who have invested time and money collecting several Masters within their faction have incentive to give table time to all of their miniatures.
  • Players who have used their skills to hone the use of a particularly powerful combination of models are encouraged to use that same intelligence to find ways of getting the most out of multiple crews.
  • Favourite Henchmen, Enforcers, Minions, Peons and Mercenaries can all still be chosen if desired. So synergistic combos of these models may be found to be somewhat transferable between Masters.
  • Players who get the ire of their gaming communities for using particular notorious Masters still get to use them some of the time, but they can't be "blamed" for choosing them when the name happens to be drawn from the hat. 😉
  • Games that may have otherwise been fairly one-sided could end up being harder fought.

Disadvantages

  • Newer players who are first learning the mechanics of the game and the models they own could become bamboozled by having to use complex Masters in schemes & strats that they may not naturally suit.
  • The system is at its fairest when both players own all eight of the Masters available to the Faction. Even among experienced players and ardent hobbyists with comparatively deep pockets, it's unusual for players to own all of the choices.
  • In the likely event that players didn't own all of the Masters, would the other player's potential hiring pool of names in the hat also be reduced to the same number? If so, lower-tier Masters may end up being excluded anyway.
  • In addition to the Masters themselves, players are also at a disadvantage if they own fewer of the support pieces for that crew. I.e. an Arcanist player who owns the Rasputina crew box but no other Frozen Heart miniatures, whereas their opponent is fielding Perdita and has all of the Ortegas/Family models to choose from.
  • Games that may have otherwise been good competition could end up being dramatically one-sided.
  • A player who draws a lower-tier Master from their faction against an opponent who happens to get the best possible result mightn't enjoy most likely being "set up to fail," even if they do potentially learn about their crew in different circumstances to usual.
  • Would require a system to prevent unsportsmanlike players from cheating to influence which name came out of the hat. (E.g. ensuring the bits of paper are as identical as possible, and once players have deployed, the remaining names in the hat are revealed to both players for accountability).

Can other players think of any other possible advantages or disadvantages from choosing to play with Master Roulette?

Would any players be keen to give it a try, if their opponents/gaming groups were also on board?

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I did something similar with WHFB years ago, but they were prepared lists that were balanced to an extent by people who were not me and knew much more about how to do that.  I have thought something similar would work if scheme and strats were generated before, then compose lists and have players randomly draw from that.  Or expand the lists so that some amount of crew creation can be done by the players.

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Don't see this comes to life in our community. Forgive me if but this sounds stupid and most of your pluses work only on paper. 

Even after reading your post  personally don't see any pluses while minuses are - 

- U need huge model pool which most players don't have, and those who are smart enough are buying only strong models so basically nothing changes... 

- Skilled player will beat novice no matter what Master he takes

- Your other points are very personal and comes from your experience. No words here... 

 

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Doesn't sound like something for me but go ahead and try if you think your group would like it. New players will take forever to learn how any one maste works so it will probably hinder them a lot more than it helps them. The best wy to get decent is to switch very few models between games and learn one master with a few different crew combinations. An experienced player can usually outplay them with a lower powered master by just picking about the same top choices from the faction so mostly the master will change and not necessarily lead to fun/thematic lists. 

I personally don't have a problem of playing lower tiered masters and there is a good reason I don't take Sonnia against people who are just dtarting out so I want the freedom to choose. Switching masters each game would slow me down immensely since I keep a few memorised at a time so I can practically playwithout checking the card but I can't kerp that level of memorisation on eight masters and their preferref crews at the same time.

To solve the randomisation it could be done by the opponent so you write your own masters on notes and the opponent who doesn't know which note is which picks for you.

The asymmetry in number of masters isn't a problem if the more experienced player has a ton and the new ones have one or two, it just evens the field like you wanted. Sucks for a noob with seven masters though. ;)

 

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I often play this sort of way anyway (well in my head). You will probably find that it doesn't work as a competitive format because if you really only want to play with 1 master you can just bring only that master, and bypass the randomness. I think you would normally find that this will emphisis the skill difference, rather than reduce it, because beign more skilled ought to mean you are more adaptable to the changes in the game. It might discourage players focusing on just 1 master, but only if they want to. 

 

I think the main advantage is that it encourages players to try things they might not have tried before, but if they enjoy trying new things they could just do that anyway. It might reduce the dominance of 1 master in a playgroup, but I think it probably leads to no fairer games than before, and puts a greater burden on newer players than experienced players (whilst looking like it doesn't, it really does. Its like people doing restricted pool events aimed at encouraging new comers, because they have the same sized pool of models to pick from it feels like it helps them, but most of the time, the player with more experience and  adaptability actually gets a much bigger advantage, and if you aren't careful you can almost lose games before you even get to build your crew if you haven't thought your pool through)

 

In short, if you and your playgroup find that you are getting stale games, its a nice way to change it up. There was a while me and my main opponent  just flipped a number of cards to discover what sized game we were playing (flip 7 cards and find the total. It'll be around 50 ss, but can vary quite a bit. Certainly stops playing the same list over and over again.)

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You could do it more like a challenge format where the group challenges someone to try a weird model. @4thstringers group has their weekly thing to play an underused model, not sure how exactly they do it but you could let the more experienced players do a challenge and those who are just starting out could pick freely.

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11 hours ago, Scatterbrain said:
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I've done it just as a challenge for myself.  My opponents weren't doing it, but we also aren't a very competitive meta.  I had just finished doing 10 games with every master I had so being locked into non optimal schemes or not having the needed models wasn't so much of an issue.  I got wrecked on occasion but did enjoy it.  (Preerrata Lucius and pre wave 5 Hoffman were really not good).  I ended up stopping because it was stopping from me trying some of the more mad scientist builds I wanted to try.

I will tell you I have at least one friend who using a bad master really hurts his enjoyment.  I don't recommend this kind of challenge for that kind of person.   I think this makes a better personal challenge than one to push on others.  If they want to, they can.

 

EDIT: I'm not sure this is something I would do as a beginner player.  I was at least 2 years into the game when I started doing this.

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6 hours ago, Rillan said:

Don't see this comes to life in our community. Forgive me if but this sounds stupid and most of your pluses work only on paper. 

Even after reading your post  personally don't see any pluses while minuses are - 

- U need huge model pool which most players don't have, and those who are smart enough are buying only strong models so basically nothing changes... 

- Skilled player will beat novice no matter what Master he takes

- Your other points are very personal and comes from your experience. No words here... 

 

Largely disagree.  The model pool thing is largely faction dependent (though I will say when I did it I had a large in faction pool as well as a community that doesn't care about proxying).  The skilled player will beat a novice no matter what master he takes is true, but if the more experienced players are doing this and the others aren't, it does help the novice players get a broader view of the game and give them a fighting chance occasionally where they wouldn't have otherwise.  

I'll say, having seen your other posts on the forums previously, I do believe that this is the kind of thing you wouldn't enjoy.   But that shouldn't stop other players who think they would enjoy it from trying it.  And calling it stupid is simply not called for.

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6 hours ago, Ludvig said:

To solve the randomisation it could be done by the opponent so you write your own masters on notes and the opponent who doesn't know which note is which picks for you.

 

I rolled a dice when I did it, kept a chart saved on my phone for what that would mean.    But honestly, if you are worried about people cheating the draw on this, I would seriously question who you are playing with.  Games are supposed to be fun.

I think at my highest I had 11 masters from two factions in my pool.  The memorization thing ended up slowing down the game a little bit, but it is amazing what you tend to learn as time goes on.  

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12 hours ago, Scatterbrain said:
  • The system is at its fairest when both players own all eight of the Masters available to the Faction. Even among experienced players and ardent hobbyists with comparatively deep pockets, it's unusual for players to own all of the choices.

It is?   Oh no...  I'm two factions deep in owning pretty much everything ><

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14 hours ago, Scatterbrain said:

The skill gap between new and experienced players is potentially reduced, depending on which Master the experienced player draws, and how familiar she/he is with their use.

I think the skill gap will actually be increased. An experienced player is likely to have more games played with their less used masters than a new player has with all of their masters put together.

An experienced player is also going to be better at picking the right schemes for the master they get dealt and their experience playing will give them an edge in making adjustments in how they play to compensate for a less than optimal master for the encounter.

If a new player draws a poor master for the encounter while the experienced one draws the best master for the encounter the game is likely to be very one sided and no fun for either player.

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This is an interesting discussion, thanks everyone for such detailed replies. 😊 As I predicted, experienced players were indeed able to identify more of the limitations of this kind of theoretical model. I'm grateful to hear from all of this experience.

From the replies above, it seems that the Master Roulette idea isn't going to work for new players... even if they do happen to be new players who have dove-in head-first, and bought and painted 6-8 Master crew boxes. 😉 So it sounds like it's more of a challenge or "handicap" for experienced and creative players like @4thstringer to choose to try, in order to spice things up and stretch abilities. It sounds like Master Roulette is going to require at least an intermediate skill level in order not to be a disaster for the player. And definitely an "opt-in" challenge, never something compulsory. 😊 The ability to choose the Master for the encounter is an important part of the uniqueness of the game, after all.

10 hours ago, 4thstringer said:

But honestly, if you are worried about people cheating the draw on this, I would seriously question who you are playing with.  Games are supposed to be fun.

 Oh, I wasn't expecting anyone to try to cheat. I just thought it would be best to make it almost impossible from the outset. As funny as it would be to write "Nicodem" on 8 pieces of paper, then remark "Oh, what are the chances?" when drawing his name. 🤣

10 hours ago, 4thstringer said:

I'll say, having seen your other posts on the forums previously, I do believe that this is the kind of thing you wouldn't enjoy.   But that shouldn't stop other players who think they would enjoy it from trying it.  And calling it stupid is simply not called for.

True, after all, @Rillan is a player who is smart enough to only have bought strong models in the first place, and to always beat a novice player no matter which Master he takes, so this style of play isn't going to suit. I don't so much mind the word choice. It can be difficult to find the right words in a second language. I'll just whip open the thesaurus and mentally replace the word "stupid" with something both more polite and descriptive when I read it. Maybe impractical, or cumbersome, or limited, or self-defeating/counter-productive.

9 hours ago, Clement said:

It is?   Oh no...  I'm two factions deep in owning pretty much everything ><

Unusual, and perhaps not the most frugal, but it's by no means impossible. 😉 I'm a complete beginner and I have a bad case of Pokemonitis myself. BUY ALL THE THINGS! 🤑

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On 5/9/2018 at 9:14 PM, Scatterbrain said:

I'm comparatively new to both Malifaux and the forum, so please excuse me if this idea has already been discussed recently.

What do experienced Malifaux players think of the idea of "Master Roulette"? Let me explain what I mean. The two players set up terrain, declare factions and get the pool of schemes and strategies as usual, from whatever rule set they are using (e.g. GG18).

The only difference is that the player does not choose which Master will lead their crew: instead, they randomly select them in secret by drawing names out of a hat (or similar). As normal, players do not know which Master the other player has randomly selected until deployment. Once the Master is selected, the players build their crews as normal, considering that Master's synergies and the schemes & strats as usual. So if you draw Jacob Lynch, you can choose Brilliance models as desired to get the best results from that crew. The only random element is which Master is taken.

I see a number of potential advantages and drawbacks from playing games this way, but I imagine experienced players will be able to think of some more. So far, I think:

Advantages

  • Players learn to use all of the Masters they have available, meaning that so-called lesser tier Masters see as much table time as the moderate to higher-rated. This could help creative players find new strengths for crews led by Masters who are lesser-rated when they ordinarily would have chosen more popular Masters instead, meaning that currently lesser-rated Masters may actually become more highly-rated as more strengths are discovered.
  • Conversely, depending on the schemes & strats, Masters with a reputation as being especially powerful may find that their dominance is reduced a little when they are forced to use them in situations where they ordinarily would have chosen a different Master instead.
  • The skill gap between new and experienced players is potentially reduced, depending on which Master the experienced player draws, and how familiar she/he is with their use.
  • Players who have invested time and money collecting several Masters within their faction have incentive to give table time to all of their miniatures.
  • Players who have used their skills to hone the use of a particularly powerful combination of models are encouraged to use that same intelligence to find ways of getting the most out of multiple crews.
  • Favourite Henchmen, Enforcers, Minions, Peons and Mercenaries can all still be chosen if desired. So synergistic combos of these models may be found to be somewhat transferable between Masters.
  • Players who get the ire of their gaming communities for using particular notorious Masters still get to use them some of the time, but they can't be "blamed" for choosing them when the name happens to be drawn from the hat. 😉
  • Games that may have otherwise been fairly one-sided could end up being harder fought.

Disadvantages

  • Newer players who are first learning the mechanics of the game and the models they own could become bamboozled by having to use complex Masters in schemes & strats that they may not naturally suit.
  • The system is at its fairest when both players own all eight of the Masters available to the Faction. Even among experienced players and ardent hobbyists with comparatively deep pockets, it's unusual for players to own all of the choices.
  • In the likely event that players didn't own all of the Masters, would the other player's potential hiring pool of names in the hat also be reduced to the same number? If so, lower-tier Masters may end up being excluded anyway.
  • In addition to the Masters themselves, players are also at a disadvantage if they own fewer of the support pieces for that crew. I.e. an Arcanist player who owns the Rasputina crew box but no other Frozen Heart miniatures, whereas their opponent is fielding Perdita and has all of the Ortegas/Family models to choose from.
  • Games that may have otherwise been good competition could end up being dramatically one-sided.
  • A player who draws a lower-tier Master from their faction against an opponent who happens to get the best possible result mightn't enjoy most likely being "set up to fail," even if they do potentially learn about their crew in different circumstances to usual.
  • Would require a system to prevent unsportsmanlike players from cheating to influence which name came out of the hat. (E.g. ensuring the bits of paper are as identical as possible, and once players have deployed, the remaining names in the hat are revealed to both players for accountability).

Can other players think of any other possible advantages or disadvantages from choosing to play with Master Roulette?

Would any players be keen to give it a try, if their opponents/gaming groups were also on board?

This sounds a lot like the "who's the boss" format from Warmachine. Its entirely casual (though you can set it up like a tournament). Basically they put all the available casters in a big pile and spin a wheel to see which one is available each round. You build your fixed list first, but thats sort of how war machine does things. Its a lot of fun, and the "fixed list" part of it means you might end up with some masters who do nothing for your list, or are completely broken. 

 

The issue with Malifaux is that a lot of masters have support pieces or totems who are really core to their play style (like the Victorias). Since this is just a fun event kind of thing, it sort of evens out when you have things like Lady J leading some ressers, or Hoffman leading some gremlins. This randomness creates a lot of silly experiences you don't see in regular play. 

 

Maybe do something where you fix a list of 30-35 stones from your declared faction before you spin the wheel and finish your list from that master's faction and hiring pool. This type of event sounds like a blast!

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